Health: Is Stress Making You Sick?

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PHNOM PENH (Khmer Times) – Studies show that many health problems can actually be related to stress. Heart disease, asthma, obesity, diabetes and headaches are identified as stress triggers. These days our lives are full of deadlines, frustration and demands. Many of us do not even realize how stressed we are.

What is stress?

Stress is a normal response to any demand that poses a challenge or threat.

Some stress is good for us and motivates us to work quicker and more productively. However, if we have too much stress for a long period of time, it affects us not only mentally, but also physically. 

How do we respond to stress?

The way we respond to a challenge can depend on the type of stress. This is commonly called the “fight or flight response.” Translated that means to either get away as fast as we can, or stay and fight our way through the situation. Some of our reaction is physiological and this also affects our physical state. 

Emergency situations – such as earthquakes or floods – stimulate us to action. Our adrenaline surges. In emergencies, people have been able to do amazing things to save lives. 

How does stress affect our body?

Nerve chemicals and hormones released during emergency situations make our heart rate faster. As we breathe quicker, our muscles become tense. 

But if this continues to happen regularly –  as we are under more and more stress – our body’s immunity is lowered and we are more at risk of becoming ill. Our digestive system and bowel habits can stop functioning normally. Women can have irregular menstruation during stressful times.

The most common causes of stress are:

death of a loved one.
family issues or conflict.
relationships (including divorce).
financial problems.
illness.
job issues. 
lack of time. 
moving house.
changing jobs. 

 
How to deal with stress?

Avoid unnecessary stress, if you find yourself in this situation, sit down and make a list of the most important things you have to do. 
Change what is causing you stress. Say no to people who make demands. Take time out for yourself.
Recognize when you are stressed and reach out to people to help you.
Accept what you cannot change. Is it really worth your health to be anxious and worried all the time?
Look to the future and try to positively visualize what your goals are.
Talk to your family and loved ones about issues and problems
Take time out and do something that you enjoy, such as sport, or other activities that stimulate you.
Exercise regularly. Walking can boost your mood and improve your circulation
Try to learn breathing techniques, such as meditation or yoga. This will help you to slow down and relax.
Eat healthy, and stimulate your brain.
See your doctor or clinic if you are totally overwhelmed.
Take a holiday, get away and unwind.

 
Don’t get stressed out about being too stressed! 

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